Propagation characteristics of ELF/VLF electromagnetic waves in the Martian ionosphere and the possibility for detection of Martian atmospherics by NOZOMI observations

Toshimi Okada, Satoshi Yagitani, Isamu Nagano, Tomohiko Imachi, Misaki Mukaino, Yasumasa Kasaba, Hiroshi Masumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A feasibility study has been made of the detection possibility of radio wave noises, i.e., Martian atmospherics, emitted from discharges in the Martian atmosphere during large dust storms. The spacecraft NOZOMI, which was launched in 1998, is to be placed on an elliptic orbit around Mars with perigee of 150-200 km. An onboard-equipment LFA (Low Frequency Plasma wave Analyzer) has capability to measure the low frequency plasma waves in the frequency range from 10 Hz to 32 kHz. In order to know if the LFA can detect the atmospheric radio noises, the propagation characteristics of electromagnetic waves through the Martian ionosphere are studied theoretically by using a full-wave method. The ionosphere is modeled as a magneto-ionic medium based on the recent observations of magnetic anomaly by Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, and the atmospheric constituent and electron density by Viking observations. Our calculation shows that the waves at frequencies less than a hundred hertz can propagate with low attenuation and reach to altitudes above 200 km in the whistler-mode in the regions of magnetic anomalies in the dayside ionosphere. It is shown that the radio noises emitted from electric discharge in an intense dust storm, with the intensity over -30 dBV/m/√Hz at the ionospheric entry point, can be sensed by the LFA. The observational identification of Martian atmospherics will contribute to the physical study of charge/discharge process in the Martian atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-659
Number of pages7
JournalIEICE Transactions on Communications
VolumeE84-B
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Mar
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ELF/VLF
  • Martian ionosphere
  • NOZOMI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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